For starters, I don’t even like this title? It allows the unfortunate option of ‘dishonest Christians.’ The truth is that a Christian should be honest. Being Christ-like is what Christianity is all about. One should not be Christ-like and dishonest at the same time! Imagine the label, ‘a dishonest Christ-like person! That’s what it sounds like when we say ‘dishonest Christian.’
Are there Christians who are dishonest? Unfortunately, there are. They include ‘born again’, church members who exhibit pride or arrogance, lack compassion, borrow funds or items and never repay or return, or members who tell lies, gossip, fight, steal or engage in acts of fraud, hatred and envy? Members who exhibit acts that Paul also said should not even be mentioned once among you. Acts that God Himself says He detests. Proverbs 6:16-19 says that, ‘There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.’
Few months ago, I visited my brother in Canada. One Sunday after we got back from church, my brother started looking for his wallet. He searched repeatedly for the wallet. At some point, his wife even joined in the frantic search. They walked through the paths that we followed to the car park and back. It was a futile search. His purse contained some cash, credit cards, employee ID card as well as his Permanent resident and provincial resident cards. To say I was worried would be an understatement especially because of the credit cards that were in the wallet. My brother called his bank to inform them of the credit card loss and avert any fraudulent transactions that may be carried out on the card. He needn’t have bothered. In the evening, we got a knock on the door. When he opened the door, a stranger who said that he also lived in the building gave my brother his wallet. The stranger said that he saw the wallet on the floor in the morning on his way out and searched through the wallet to see if the owner’s address was somewhere in the wallet. That’s how my brother got his wallet back intact!
Few days later, my sister-in-law misplaced her cell phone on her way to school. Later in the evening when she got home, the building manager told her that a stranger picked the cell phone and dropped it off at the ground floor reception. When I informed my mum and husband about these incidents, I told them that it appears only ‘born again Christians live in Halifax.
Unfortunately, many people who profess to be born again do not reflect these powerful virtues of honesty and integrity. A few years ago in church, I left my handbag on my seat for a few minutes. By the time I returned to my seat. My hand bag along with the contents had been stolen. The bag has not been seen till today. Someone may claim that the thief may not be a member of our church. Fine! But it happened in a church! My brother’s wallet and sister-in-law’s phone were not even misplaced in church! They were returned intact!
Honesty is a scarce commodity in Nigeria and can be absent even in a transaction between brethren! Many people now take it for granted that bribery, dishonesty and related vices are a regular part of the Nigerian news and culture. Someone can be seen as abnormal if he insists on integrity. One day, someone on a bus even asked me, ‘You be Jesus?, because I returned the excess change the bus conductor gave me. He expected me to keep quiet and enjoy the extra money even though it would have been obtained through some element of falsehood. That’s the unfortunate society one must survive in.
Honesty should be second nature to us. It should not be a virtue that one must search for vigorously before it can be seen in a Christian. I believe that there are still honest and good Christians who a true presentation of what the Bible teaches. Several Bible verses teach on the value God places on honesty and integrity. Proverbs 21:3 says, ‘To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.’ Colossians 3:9 says, ‘Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.’ Ephesians 4:25, ‘Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.’ James 3:17 says, ‘But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’ Proverbs 12:22 says, ‘The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.’ Our lives need to reflect the words of these scriptures in our everyday dealings with people in and out of church environments. It’s the more excellent way of successful living.
May our testimonies in the year 2020 reflect honesty, amen.
Happy New Year!